Landlord’s Guide to Pets, Service and Companion Animals | Oshawa Property Management - Article Banner

The Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) protects people with physical and intellectual disabilities from being discriminated against in housing, employment, and other facets of life.

As a landlord, you’ll need to know how this applies to a tenant or an applicant who has or needs a service animal.

Pets and service animals are very different. We’re talking about those differences in today’s blog.

Pets and Oshawa Rental Homes 

Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act restricts landlords from including no-pet clauses in rental agreements. You cannot say that you won’t allow pets. However, you don’t have to accept a tenant who has pets.

This may seem confusing. But, it comes down to pet owners really having no rights until they’ve already signed a lease agreement and moved into the property.

Landlords cannot evict a tenant for pet ownership once they have accepted a tenant. You’ll also want to make sure you understand Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2006, which states that a provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.

You don’t have to allow every tenant who has a pet. But, you cannot prohibit the animals after the tenant has signed a contract. If you don’t want pets in your rental home, due a lot of screening to establish that your prospective tenant won’t be moving in with a pet.

Defining Service Animals in Oshawa Rental Homes 

According to the AODA’s Standards, one of two conditions must apply for any animal to be considered a service animal:

  1. The animal is easily identifiable as relating to a disability. For example, a Seeing-Eye Dog would have a harness or a Seizure Dog might have a vest identifying it as such.
  2. The tenant can provide documentation from a regulated health professional confirming the animal is required due to a disability.

Service animals are not pets. Additional fees or requirements that apply to pets do not apply to service animals.

Companion Animals in Oshawa 

service animalThe most common type of companion animal in Oshawa is an emotional support animal. While there are no federal laws in place that protect Canadians with emotional support animals, each province sets its own standards and requirements.

In Ontario, there are no specific laws that speak to emotional support animals, but the accessibility laws in place can support people who need such an animal for whatever disability they are dealing with.

Unlike service animals, companion animals do not need any specific training. This means that any dog or cat can be a companion animal. Their role is to provide calming and comforting companionship and emotional support to their owners.

This can be a tricky part of the law, especially for rental property owners who are unfamiliar with companion animals or not sure what their legal requirements are around service animals. We are here to help. Please contact us at Investor’s Choice Property Management. We provide property management in Oshawa, Whitby, Courtice, Bowmanville, Pickering, Ajax, and communities in the regions of Durham and Clarington.